Court finds stone-thrower guilty of murder
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Court finds stone-thrower guilty of murder

Palestinian Wa'al al-Araji hurled rock at an Israeli car causing it to crash, killing the driver and his infant son in 2011

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Rescue personnel at the scene where Asher Palmer and his son were killed by rocks thrown at their vehicle on Route 60 near Kiryat Arba in the West Bank on Friday, September 23, 2011. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Rescue personnel at the scene where Asher Palmer and his son were killed by rocks thrown at their vehicle on Route 60 near Kiryat Arba in the West Bank on Friday, September 23, 2011. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

In a groundbreaking decision, a military court found a Palestinian man guilty of murder for throwing a rock at an Israeli car, causing it to crash and killing the driver and his infant son.

The court at Ofer military prison on Tuesday found Wa’al al-Araji, 25, from Halhul, to be directly responsible for the deaths in 2011 of Asher Palmer and his 1-year-old son Yehonatan.

Palmer was driving from his home in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba towards Jerusalem when Araji and accomplices drove towards them in the opposite direction in another vehicle. As the two cars passed each other, Araji hurled a rock that smashed through the windshield, knocking Palmer unconscious. The car swerved off the road, killing its occupants.

The decision was unusual in that the Military Advocate generally does not seek a murder charge against stone-throwing Palestinians, even when their actions cause fatalities. However, the panel of three judges said that, in this particular case, there could be no doubt that the accused intended to kill and had practiced perpetrating similar — although less deadly — attacks in the past.

In March six people were injured, one critically, after Palestinians threw rocks at their car, which then crashed into a truck.

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